Budgeting now to avoid financial stress over the holidays

Now that we're over the hill of Halloween, there are just eight Fridays until Christmas.

Stressed yet?

You can avoid some of that holiday stress with a little planning ahead of time.

Michael Mason with Mason & Associates in Newport News says it all comes down to controlling your spending and your savings.

Since we're less than two months from Christmas, it's hard to do much about your savings now,  so you'll have to focus on spending.

Create a budget and figure out who you are able to buy gifts for.  When you look at your budget, you may realize you can't afford to shop for everyone, so you need to make those decisions now.

When it comes to increasing your savings, you should start looking ahead to next year.

Mason says a great way to make improvements is to evaluate how much money you have taken out for taxes.

If you're getting a big tax refund every year, you're having too much money taken out.  That not only costs you interest, it also changes how you view that money.

"The real problem with that is you look at that money differently.  That $3,000 tax refund, you'll spend it all on a credit card and not think twice about it.  But what if you save $250 a month and it was $3,000 in the savings account? Would you reach in the savings account and spend that the same way? Probably not," said Mason.

If you don't start planning ahead, it's easy to get caught up in holiday gift-buying and end up with big credit card bills in January.

Watch our full interview above to learn more.